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When I did the Sydney to Melbourne trip of 1016km 2 years ago in Sept/Oct 2017, a number of people spoke to me and said they wished they could have come on the walk as well!  To transport a number of people to Sydney with 33 days off work, giving them food and accommodation each night etc would have been an impossible task, but if the walk was held here in Melbourne, and it was done on some of the beautiful walking tracks we have here- that would be quite possible!


On July 8th this year I had open heart surgery to replace the mitral valve in my heart. The recovery I’ve experienced from that time has been nothing short of amazing, thanks to the wonderful surgeons and doctors and nurses at the Alfred, but especially thanks to the many who prayed for my recovery! Not only so, but now, 4 months later, I can walk better and as fast as before, but now without having to stop and catch my breath. This was a hopeful outcome with the new valve but now it’s actually a reality!  That really spurred me on to think more about the possibility of another walk, but only in the above context!


At the last Leaders’ meeting on October 12th 2019, I asked if any would be prepared to go on a new Sydney to Melbourne walk with me, but this time in Melbourne, and to my surprise quite a number put up their hands! At the afternoon tea after the last Kids of Gold camp, 25th-27th October, when I asked parents and friends and kids if any would care to join me, lots of hands went up there again, so I felt encouraged to proceed!


Much of my training for the last Sydney to Melbourne was done on the Dandenong Creek trail. Starting from the Colchester Reserve ( from Torresdale Drive) in Colchester Rd Kilsyth South, this trail goes right through and joins up with the Eastlink Trail in Wantirna, crossing the Burwood Highway with a beautiful and safe walking bridge, and then heading down to Jells Park in Wheelers Hill. Although in my 2017 training I did walk right through to Jell’s Park a number of times, and even through to Dandenong once, my aim would be to walk a lesser distance per day this time of 25 km/day, leaving Colchester Reserve, walking 12.5km along the trail, then coming back to the car at Colchester Reserve to save being picked up at the end.


To make it possible for kids to join in ( with parental permission), I would like to start this off during school holiday times. I have been approached by one teacher who believes she would like to see if her class could come during class time and walk then, believing that to be a possibility, but for a start at least,  school holidays is my aim.


Next year in May 2020, we will be starting a whole new group as Level 1s, as we normally do, and we’d like to offer scholarships again as we’ve done the last 2 years since the Sydney-Melbourne 2017 Walk.  To raise more money for this, we need to start walking in these next holidays, sometime after Christmas, so that’s not far off! That means walking in January 2020, and as we know, January can be a pretty warm month. My plan is to walk on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, doing 25km/day. Some days if it gets too hot, I might walk at Lilydale Lake, where drinking fountains are plentiful, or if it looks to be too hot, we might cancel for that day. Using both the Kids of Gold website and Facebook page, we can keep everyone in touch with plans for each day.


I will keep a record of distance walked each time on the Kids of Gold website, at www.kidsofgold.org.au , with an ongoing total distance covered included as well. Any who want their name and daily distance log to be included are welcome to have their names put up also.  We’ll also put up a running tally of the amount raised so far, as donations come in. We will use the Sydney-Melbourne Facebook page ( found on Facebook under Sydney to Melbourne Kids of Gold Pilgrimage)  to put up photos/videos and a record of each day’s events.


It may be that some will do the 1016km before I do!  It may be that I won’t even get the distance this time, but either way, as long as we can facilitate enough kids to receive scholarships for the May 2020 camp, that is our goal, and this is my invitation to call on you to join me if you can, whether for some of the distance or maybe even some for ALL of it, that would be wonderful, either way!


We’ll make it possible for sponsorship of walkers to be done over the website, where they can put in the name of the sponsor ( including Anonymous sponsors) and the name of the person they are sponsoring, and the amount.  At 1c/km this will represent $10.16, 2c/km at $20.32, 10c/km at $101.60 and 20c/km at $203.20, or these could all be rounded to $10, $20, $100, $200 etc for the whole journey.

While these records will go through the website for admin purposes, we won’t publicly list how much each person raises, because this is truly a team event, and often people will donate an amount of their own choosing without needing to identify the walker who inspired them, but just because they see it as a worthwhile thing to do.


The earliest we can start is Monday 6th January 2020, then walking  Wed 10th, Fri 12th, Mon 13th, Wed 15th, Fri 17th, Mon 20th, Wed 22nd finishing on Fri 24th Jan 20.  School recommences the following week on Wed 29th Jan.  Over those 9 days I’d plan to cover 25km/day, totalling 225km for January, which would be over a fifth of the way and a little under a quarter.  We could walk again in the April 2020 School Holidays.


In terms of what to bring, what to wear etc, I’d plan to leave that to a future posting, but for now we are just announcing this as the plan and seeing how many ( of all ages! ) might be interested to join.  While this announcement is circulated on the website and Facebook pages and emails, until we get everything set up, perhaps just send me your name and age( if under 18 years) and how you became interested, and for those over 18 be aware that once the Registration process is set up we will be needing a Working With Children Check as well.  Send your initial interest via an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and use 03 9737 9475 or 0415 427 396  for queries etc.

Yours for these Amazing Kids,
Gary Parsons                                                                                                                                       

Founder, Kids of Gold                                                                                                                                                                

 

 

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